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“Vote and make soup”: money politics and democratic decline in Ondo State, Nigeria


Elections in Ondo State have historically been akin to organised crime. Following violence that usually characterizes elections in the state, its environment has always been tension-soaked. Expectedly, the need to conduct peaceful elections has gained currency in the intellectual space. In fact, the phenomenon has not eluded mentioning in the public discourse. However, there has to date been little systematic evaluation of the relationship between vote buying and the 2016 gubernatorial election in the state. There was a new coinage in the political lexicon in the state: “vote and make soup”. “Vote and make soup” strategy deployed by a section of the political class was very new to electoral process in the state. This article investigates the influence of the strategy on the outcome of the 2016 gubernatorial election and the effects of such strategy on democracy in the state. Using mixed method techniques, this article finds evidence that “vote and make soup” strategy reduced regular violence that hitherto trailed electoral process in the state and influenced the outcome of the election. The findings are relevant both for understanding the dynamics of violence-free electoral manipulation, and also for the effect of such procedural perversion on democracy in Ondo State